CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A hotel operator charged in the carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of three people at a Boone hotel has turned himself in to police on Friday.
A grand jury on Wednesday indicted 50-year-old Barry Damon Mallatere on three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault causing injury.
Mallatere posted this message on his Facebook page Thursday:
Dear friends, I will be out of touch for a while but I deeply appreciate your kind words during this difficult time.
He also asks people to pray for his family.
Mallatere turned himself into Boone police late Friday morning.
Prosecutors say Mallatere is responsible for the deaths of an elderly couple from Washington State who died in room 225 of Mallatere's Best Western Hotel in Boone last April, and 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams, who died in room 225 last June.
Investigators say in both cases carbon monoxide poisoning from an indoor pool water heater and faulty exhaust system killed the victims.
In published reports, Mallatere's attorney says he's disappointed in the charges, and thinks a gas company that converted the pool heater from propane to natural gas is more culpable, saying it appears that conversion was botched.
Melissa Green works in Boone, has followed the case closely and thinks both are at fault, even though Mallatere is the only one charged.
I would say the people doing the work are responsible, but it was also up to him if it was okay too, she said.
Prosecutors aren't talking about the decision to only charge Mallatere because it's expected to go to trial.
The Williams family calls what happened gross negligence and recklessness on many levels.
This is part of the family's statement following the indictments:
If this matter is tried, it will hopefully help set a legal precedent that will serve as a staunch reminder for future generations of decision makers in similar cases that the public's safety is of paramount concern.